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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

In Kerala, Left lawmaker PV Anvar inaugurates eight roads before Rahul Gandhi can

Congress leaders are alleging that Anvar outwitted them to scuttle the scheduled inauguration of the roads by Wayanad Lok Sabha member Rahul on Wednesday afternoon

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 30.11.23, 04:51 AM
Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi. File Photo

A Left lawmaker has inaugurated eight roads that were relaid in Nilambur in Kerala, a day before Lok Sabha member Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to do the honours.

P.V. Anvar, Independent MLA from Nilambur who is part of the ruling Left Democratic Front, surprised everyone by inaugurating the eight roads relaid under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in his constituency on Tuesday.

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Congress leaders are alleging that Anvar outwitted them to scuttle the scheduled inauguration of the roads by Wayanad Lok Sabha member Rahul on Wednesday afternoon.

Anvar's act sparked a war of words, with Congress leaders slamming him for flouting guidelines that state that roads under the PMGSY are to be inaugurated by the local Lok Sabha member.

But Anvar on Wednesday told a media conference in Nilambur that he was entitled to inaugurate them since the roads were built under a 60:40 partnership between the Centre and the state government.

Anvar accused the Malappuram district Congress committee of using Rahul in the party’s larger attempt to outshadow the ongoing Nava Kerala Sadas of the LDF government.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his council of ministers are travelling to all 140 Assembly constituencies as part of an outreach programme. The road trip in a bus, which started from Kasaragod in the north of the state on November 18 and would culminate in Thiruvananthapuram on December 24, is scheduled to reach Nilambur on November 30.

“They (Congress) are deploying Rahul Gandhi as part of their plan to outshadow the Nava Kerala Sadas that is set to reach Nilambur… I don’t think Rahul Gandhi would be party to such a cheap trick,” Anvar said.

According to Anvar, the Nilambur Assembly constituency got the lion’s share of eight of the 14 roads sanctioned for Malappuram district following the extensive damage caused by the 2018 floods.

Although Nilambur is in Malappuram district, the Assembly constituency falls in the Wayanad Lok Sabha segment represented by Rahul. The Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency has seven Assembly constituencies — Kalpetta, Mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery (in Wayanad district), Nilambur, Eranad, Wandoor (Malappuram district) and Thiruvambady (Kozhikode district).

Congress leader and Wandoor MLA A.P. Anil Kumar, however, maintained it was the local MP who should inaugurate such a project.

“According to the guidelines, it is the local MP who should inaugurate the roads (built under the PMGSY). The state minister holding the rural development portfolio, or, in his absence, the local MLA, would chair the inaugural event. But Anvar went ahead and inaugurated them even without the minister,” Kumar told reporters on Wednesday.

“It is grossly inappropriate to go ahead and inaugurate the PMGSY roads. It shows a total lack of propriety on the part of the MLA,” Kumar said.

Bahujan Samaj Party MP Kunwar Danish Ali had taken strong exception in September 2021 to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurating some roads built under the PMGSY in Ali’s constituency. Ali had then said that it was the Lok Sabha MP’s privilege to inaugurate the roads built or repaired under the scheme.

Ali had tweeted a copy of the letter from the Union ministry of rural development that stated that the laying of the foundation stone and inauguration should be done by the local Lok Sabha member.

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